Michael Rattray, CEO of the United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County, has announced he will be retiring at the end of this year after a 3½-year stint with the organization.
Rattray, who has helped the clubs expand while weathering some tough financial storms, talked with Noozhawk on Wednesday about the decision.
Rattray worked for Raytheon for 33 years before retiring in 2008, and he was asked to join the United Boys & Girls Clubs in the summer of 2009 to help the organization through some of the struggles it was facing then.
“I knew it would be a three-year journey,” he said, adding that he was hired to look at some of the strategic problems the organization was facing.
A strategic plan and 3½ years later, and Rattray says he feels good about where he’s leaving the organization.
Judy Jennings, the organization’s director of finance and human resources, who was hired shortly after Rattray joined the organization, is also leaving at the end of the year.
“It just feels right, and it will give the Boys & Girls Clubs a new fresh start,” he said.
Rattray said part of the strategic plan that proved so successful was changing the clubs into “Learning Care Centers,” which meant adopting a curriculum that used every experience, whether playing outdoors or doing arts and crafts, as a teachable moment.
“That’s paid off,” he said, adding that all of the clubs’ 44 high school seniors graduated this year, with 77 percent going on to college. “That is the highest percentage we’ve ever seen.”
When Rattray began, the United Boys & Girls Clubs had six sites in the county. Now, the organization has 10 sites and serves 4,000 children on an annual basis — 1,000 more than it was seeing in 2009.
That’s exceptional considering 2012 will mark the organization’s first balanced budget in six years, and Rattray said the staff has made a “heroic effort” in terms of fundraising.
“It’s been the love of my life,” he said of the organization. “I couldn’t be more pleased with how things have turned out.”